Author: Mark Bills and Barbara Bryant
Widely regarded as a genius and as the greatest painter of the Victorian age, George Frederic Watts (1817–1904) was a ceaseless experimenter throughout his seventy-year career. He was not only the finest and most penetrating portraitist of his age but also a sculptor, landscape painter, and symbolist. This beautifully illustrated book encompasses the work of his entire career, from his early self-portrait in 1834 and first exhibited painting in the Royal Academy in 1837 to his most iconic work, Hope, and the remarkable, almost abstract painting, Sower of the Systems, completed in 1903. In addition, the book includes historic photographs and archival materials, especially concerning the establishment in 1904 of the Watts Picture Gallery in Compton, Surrey, for the permanent exhibition of his art. Essays by leading scholars examine the artist’s output, life, reception, and legacy.
Mark Bills is curator, Watts Gallery, and formerly senior curator of paintings, prints, and drawings, the Museum of London. He is coeditor of William Powell Frith, Painting the Victorian Age (Yale). Barbara Bryant is an art historian, writer, and consultant specializing in the work of G. F. Watts. She wrote the exhibition catalogue G. F. Watts Portraits: Fame & Beauty in Victorian Society (2004).